Radio advertising, on the surface, may seem like it’s heading toward obsolescence. However, research indicates that it continues to have many advantages and to be a vital part of a highly effective media strategy.
Is Radio still a player?
The short answer is, “yes.” Radio has higher reach than any other platform, with 92% of US adults listening to radio each week. People turn on the radio when they get in their cars. They play it at the office and at home. Traditional terrestrial radio, far from being an outmoded channel, remains a vital and active ingredient in your media plan.
Podcasts, Satellite and Internet Radio have joined the big kids’ table.
These three audio media are no longer just novelties. They are legitimate, growing channels with an increasing sphere of influence. Pew Research Center says that the audiences for online radio and podcasting have progressively increased throughout the past decade.
57 million Americans 12+ listen to podcasts each month, according to podcast measurement firm Podtrac, and advertisers are taking notice. Nielsen estimates that podcast advertising revenue will exceed $500 million in 2019. That is a 65% increase over the past two years. Podcast advertising has fans in a wide array of industries. Media buying services purchase podcast ads for everything from well-known national consumer brands to small, niche producers. Among the benefits of podcast advertising is the sophisticated tracking available on digital channels. Brands can gather a great deal of information about who is hearing their ads and often, how those listeners respond to them.
Additionally, podcast listeners are highly engaged listeners. Edison Research’s Share of Ear study finds that podcasts receive over half of the share of time spent listening on smartphones. Among weekly listeners, over one fifth said they listened to four or five podcasts in a week. Talk radio, as an audio format, requires active listening. When you reach out to this audience, chances are good that they will be there, ready to receive your message.
TOP GENRES OF PODCASTS AMONG AVID* FANS (Based on U.S. Households)
Internet radio and streaming also have large, and growing, audiences. The most popular streaming apps have over 300 million listeners. This includes (at this writing) 170 million active Spotify users, 100 million iHeart radio users, 74 million Pandora users and three million users on Tidal. Edison Research said that the percentage of Americans who listen to online radio doubled between 2012 and 2019. As of 2019, around two-thirds of the population listens to online radio, making it a great choice for your next media buy.
Smart Speakers are changing radio listening patterns.
Smart Speakers like Amazon’s Echo devices and Google Home have found an increasingly large share of the US market. They are also more often becoming the vehicle of choice for listening to AM and FM radio stations. Inside Radio says that radio listening on smart speakers doubled between 2018 and 2019. Experts in the field say that this increase shows that the appetite for traditional radio stations remains strong. As long as listeners are able to access their favorite stations through their chosen devices, they will continue to listen. This provides great opportunities for media buyers.
In addition to advertising that mirrors that on terrestrial radio, smart speakers offer new and exciting possibilities. Ads, for instance, can be made more interactive. Many radio stations are offering promotional activities to support your advertising. Listeners can choose which ad experience they listen to and can use their smart device to find out more about brands that pique their interest.
Far from being a remnant from the past, radio continues to be a vital part of US individuals’ media consumption habits. Smart buyers will continue to use the ever-increasing array of radio channels to reach consumers and bring attention and sales to their brands.